Anime review: Batman Gotham Knight
Set between the movies Batman Begins and Dark Knight, this is a collection of 6 vaguely connected short stories about the caped crusader, written by American comic book guys and animated by some of Japan’s mightiest anime studios. As such, it is hard to summarize the entire thing. Safe to say The Bat spends his time tracking down bad guys and handing out a fair share of whoopass. Some of the stories are predictable and completely forgettable, but a couple rise above expectations and manage to inject some new flavours into this very old character.
When I first heard about Gotham Knight, I had some pretty strong reservations. And in many ways this is the cynical jump-on-the-bandwagon that I expected. However, on the whole, the DVD impresses more than it disappoints.
I’ll start by admitting that I’m a fan of The Batman. However, I also feel that he, and all costumed superheroes, have outlived their relevance to our culture. Still, of all the American icons they could have anime-ized, Batman works remarkably well. He’s all dark and moody and mysterious. As much as these are stereotypes of anime, they’re also kinda true stereotypes.
The standout short for me is the first, Have I Got a Story For You (top picture) done by Studio 4°C, the folks behind the fabulous Tekkon Kinkreet. Have I Got shares Tekkon‘s fluid and surreal look, as well as a storytelling style that flows from a kid’s imagination. It also briefly features a mecha-Batman. Oh yeah.
The rest of the DVD goes up and down and even though I was not disappointed at the end of this ride, I still maintain that anime is more than just a “style” – using it to simply create a new take on old ideas greatly underestimates its storytelling value.